Here's AARP's reply.
Thank you for contacting your AARP headquarters on the issue of gun
control. We appreciate hearing from you.
The AARP policymaking process is a long one, beginning in September
and continuing through February annually. AARP's National Legislative
Council thoughtfully develops each policy after reviewing the pros and
cons and makes recommendations to the Board. Public policies are
reconsidered and voted anew each year. Input from members like you,
along with other members' suggestions, are carefully reviewed and
contribute to establishing AARP priorities.
At this time, our policymaking process results indicate that a large
majority of our members support careful handgun control measures.
Therefore, AARP continues to support measures to control the
availability of handguns. Some of the rationale includes the
following facts: Handguns continue to present a serious threat to
citizens of all ages. Handguns are a leading cause of accidental
injury and death, especially for children. Handguns are frequently
used to commit violent crimes. U.S. Census Bureau figures show year
after year that handguns are responsible for two out of three of
murders. In 1999 (the latest figures available), 28,874 deaths were
due to firearm injuries. At a time when having enough resources to
provide adequate healthcare for older Americans is a special concern,
the medical costs of treating gunshot victims exceeds $1 billion a
The prevalence of random violence featuring handguns in some
neighborhoods has resulted in numbers of older people becoming virtual
prisoners in their homes. Increasingly, families are suffering the
loss of children and grandchildren who are the victims of violent
crimes and senseless shootings.
AARP policy does not preclude gun ownership for responsible citizens.
Our policy states:
"The federal government must continue to control the availability of
handguns and semiautomatic and automatic weapons. Congress should
reinstate the Brady law's five-day waiting period and should leave in
place the assault weapons ban. States should enact legislation that
prohibits the possession of handguns by juveniles, requires adults who
own handguns to keep them away from juveniles, and prohibits the
possession of guns by convicted domestic abusers."
I hope this information has been helpful. While you may disagree with
the Board on this particular policy, we hope that many other issues,
objectives, and services of AARP so beneficial to older Americans
encourage you to remain a valued member of the association. We
appreciate your participation.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if there is any way your
headquarters staff may be of assistance in the future. Thank you
again for taking the time to get in touch. It is always a pleasure to
respond to the concerns of a member.
Visit the AARP Website at www.aarp.org/events
to learn more about
AARP's National Event, Life@50+: A Celebration of You, taking
place Sept. 5-7, 2003 in Chicago